Journals & Collaborative Projects

Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous collaborative projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:

Tutorials & Techniques

Below are some of our favorite tricks for adding depth and dimension to your art.  We hope you have fun giving these a try!

Current Group Swaps & Projects

Below is a list of current swaps and projects available to group members. If you are interested in joining our group and participating in these projects, please visit us at:  

For existing group members, you can sign up to participate  in these projects here: Swaps & Current Projects.  

We look forward to swapping with you.  Happy Arting!

Member Gallery for Group Swaps
Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous group swaps and projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:
Come play with us... Join today!

Paper Traders is a friendly online community of artists from around the world. We nurture and value creativity, embrace new ideas, products, and techniques yet also value tried and true methods of artistic expression. Our projects consist primarily of paper arts, mixed media collage, artist trading cards, altered art, assemblages, collaborative journals, mail art, and more.

We are interested in creative individuals of varied skill levels who wish to challenge themselves artistically and help build a supportive community. We are at our best when we can share our creative efforts as well as techniques, resources, feedback, and insights. We encourage conversation about art, the art process, and what it means to be an artist.

Paper Traders is hosted on Yahoo Groups at
We hope you will consider joining us on an artistic journey!

In order to prevent spammers and to insure that all applicants are actual persons interested in creating art, a questionnaire will be sent to all potential members. When applying, please submit digital examples of your work or direct us to a website where we can view your art. The intent of the questionnaire is not to judge the merits of your art but to safeguard the integrity of our community.

Free Images for Download

Below you will find images that are owned by our group members and offered for your personal use as well as images found in the public domain. Images may be freely used in your personal artwork but may not be used for commercial purposes of any kind without written permission of the owner. No images may be used to create collage sheets or image collections for resale.

To download, follow the link provided. In some cases, you may be able to just click on the image to enlarge it, then right-click and select "save image as". Content changes frequently and many images are available for a limited time.  Please check back often for newly posted images to use in your art journey.

Open Art Challenges !

We're changing things up here at Paper Traders. Instead of the monthly challenges of the past, we'll now be hosting special challenges that might feature a specific technique or product and will be rewarded with actual prizes sponsored by our group members.

Our new challenge for 2013 is a year long word prompt journaling project/challenge. Each specific challenge will be open for one month and all art bloggers can participate, whether you are a Paper Traders member or not. Each artist will comment with a link to their blog post that features the artwork for that particular challenge. For each challenge, a winner will be selected whose art best exemplifies the challenge. The winning artist will be featured here and get a "Trader Treasure" blog button to display on their own blog. They also will receive one chance for each entry for the end of the year prize drawing. Watch this page for more details and challenge announcements.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Eye for Color ATC Swap

open to Paper Traders members only

Do you have an eye for color?  I've been loving Pinterest and some of the things that caught my eye were all of these beautiful color palettes that people are pinning.  This led me to a really cool website where I found my inspiration for a new Paper Traders swap:

Eye for Color
4-for-4 ATC Swap
Due: postmarked by June 25th
Skill: all levels
Host: Beckie Holso

This swap will be based on the "Eye for Color" palette from the website found here:  Make 4 ATCs using the color palette shown.  Your cards can be the same, similar, or different but must all use the same color combination.  The theme for this swap is "Eye for Color" and can be interpreted however you feel inspired.  All techniques are acceptable except that digital art must also include some tangible elements.

Please mail your cards to me postmarked by June 25th and include a return address label and $1 for postage.  International participants may send ephemera in lieu of postage.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gel Printing Plate Tutorial

Hey Friends !

I've had this Gel Printing Plate by Gelli Arts
for awhile now but haven't had the time to try it out. 
Boy, my mistake, because
this thing is wonderful and fun to use.
I see this becoming my "go to" supply
for ATC backgrounds, card accent paper
and mixed media collage.

Supplies: brayer, acrylic paint, baby wipes
foil, plastic wrap, acrylic glaze to thin paint ( if needed),
various tools and items to make marks with.
This is a 6" square gel plate

 Squirt about a quarter size amount of paint. It's better
to start out with too little paint and add more. Your
paint will spread easily across the gel.

 Use a plastic fork to make designs, or the
opposite end of a paint brush. Do not press hard
as you can damage the gel.

 Lay paper across the top and press down lightly.
Gently lift off being careful not to slide the paper around
to blur design.

A little hard to see with the white paint. Sorry about that.

I used a paint chip card that I had punched squares out
for this imprint. Then I took a paintbrush end and
drew some squares free hand.

Then I rolled some white paint on top of the gel and
took paint off in circles with a paint brush.
You do not have to wipe the previous paint off if you don't
want to. I left the little bit of pink on  here.
Love all that detail and layers!

You can use crumpled up foil to lift paint off.
 It leaves a wonderful lacy design.

Plastic wrap works great as well.

First layer was rolled with 2 colors of blue
(just a small drop of the dark blue).
Paint lifted with the foil and paper pressed onto plate.
Second layer was just a touch of green rolled
on the edge of the gel plate, lifted with foil
and printed on top of blue.

More samples of prints:

Blotted around edge with tissue.

Printed on sheet music.

Some block prints on a "test canvas".

I flipped the gel and placed it on the canvas.
Remember to write backwards if you add text. :)
The row of hearts was done by just rolling a
strip of paint onto gel plate and then drawing hearts.
On this one you can see that you can get
2 prints off of the gel plate, which is nice if
you want your edges to be less sharp
and more of the background to show through.

Wash your gel plate off in the sink with water and mild soap.
It cleans up well with baby wipes, too.

I had a ton of fun playing with this and now
have a nice stash of background papers to boot.

Cathy Calamas - Paper Traders

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Summer Window Swap Announcement

Announcing  A New Swap 
This swap is for Paper_Traders members only
but we would love to have you join us.
Click on the purple yahoo button on the right
and start on your Paper Traders journey.

Summer Window Swap
Theme: Summer Scenes
5 for 5 - 3" x4" size
Postmarked by May 31st.

Last Fall we did an Open Door swap, so I thought it was time for a
"Window" swap. And to get us in the mood for summer
let's make those outside scenes be summertime fun: beach, bbq's, lake fun,
 boating, swimming,etc.
We are making these a little bit bigger than ATC's so that
we can get good peeks through those windows. J

Please include $2.00 postage or ephemera in lieu of postage.
Int'l members welcome ( please send ephemera in lieu of postage)
Contact Cathy Calamas for more info.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Our "Hot Air Balloon" Challenge

Our April challenge is going up, up, up!
The theme is Hot Air Balloons and
we'd love to see what makes you soar.

You don't have to be a member of Paper_Traders Yahoo Art group to participate but if you would like to join us and be privy to even more great paper crafting swaps and challenges plus better than ever artistic support, that would be super!

When the challenge closes, we will pick a winning piece that best showcases the theme of the challenge and/or supply requirement.

Challenge Rules

  1. Make a paper craft, mixed media or digital piece of art ( any size). The theme is "Hot Air Balloons".
  2. Post your art to your blog, Flickr, Picasa (online albums). Mention our name PaperTraders Art Blog with a link back to this post. You are more than welcome to grab our button and post it on your blog as well. The last day to post for this challenge is April 30th, 2012.
  3. After posting your "Hot Air Balloons!" art on your site, come back to this post and leave us a comment with link to your post/image. You must include a direct link to your image or post, not a general link to your album or blog. All you will need to do is copy and paste the url address of your post found at the top of your browser window.
  4. The winner(s) will be awarded our "Trader Treasure" blog badge which they can choose to feature on their blog. Their art will also be posted on the PaperTraders Art Blog for the month.

Free images to get you started!

above 2 images from the 
graphics fairy blog

Member Inspiration